|Review: Vanden Plas - Christ.0|
Label: Inside Out Music
Year released: 2006
Genre: Progressive Metal
Review online: December 10, 2010
Reviewed by: Joseph Allen
Rated 3.75/5 (75%) (12 Votes)
Working backwards through this band's admirable discography, we come to their 2006 release, Christ 0, and while I don't think this one is as good as what came before and after, it is still a grand release from an awesome band.
The differences between Christ 0 and Beyond Daylight become apparent as soon as the title track charges out of the speakers. Every song is a never-ending climax, almost never losing momentum, just starting incredibly and getting slightly better as it goes on. This might be due to their decision to make the keys less of a leading instrument, choosing instead to let the crunching, knotty riffs and leads of Stephen Lill, who really does deserve a place in the upper tier of prog guitarists. His riffs are hypnotic, and he knows exactly when he should play a solo and for how long. To say nothing of the solos themselves, as these monsters definitely wouldn't have sounded right on an album as meditative as Beyond Daylight.
Other than the much more up-front approach to the guitar, not much of their formula has changed; in fact the only other changes would be the other instruments making their performances a bit more direct than on other releases. This is definitely the most accessible Vanden Plas album (that I've heard), despite a rather strange crime drama re-imagining of The Count of Monte Cristo. Speaking of which, the lyrics are pretty cool if you take a look at them (you'll have to find lyrics, as even though I love Andy Kuntz's angelic voice, his accent does a good job at butchering the intelligibility of what he's saying).
I've pretty much done nothing but rant about how good this album is, but the bad thing about it is, in a way it tries to be too good for too long. Under the constant barrage of more direct songwriting, it gives the middle of the album a lot of unnecessary weight, which often forces me to break it up into multiple listens. When these guys are being subtle is where they truly shine, and that's what brings me back to their other albums. In taking a more go-for-the-throat style on this one, they've unfortunately sacrificed some staying power. That aside, this album still deserves a place in any prog fan's collection.
|Other related information on the site|
|Review: Beyond Daylight (reviewed by Joseph Allen)|
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